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A Guide to Low Carb Vegetables on a Keto diet

It's often mistaken that you can't eat vegetables when you are eating a Keto diet, this couldn't be further from the truth. There are many low carb vegetables than can be successfully incorporated into a Keto diet. But there are also many vegetables that aren't low carb and that you want to avoid.

A bit of background first;

What are Carbs?

Carbohydrates are a collection of substances such as sugar or starch that provide the body with instant energy. Carbs come from many sources. Many people think of carbs as being in bread, pasta, rice, potatoes and baked cakes etc. But vegetables are also an excellent source of carbs. Vegetables also contain fibre, fibre is essential to help maintain the digestive system, and is believed to provide many health benefits including lowering your risk for heart disease and diabetes. There are two basic types of fibre: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance. Insoluble fibre, does not dissolve in the digestive tract. It increases stool bulk and moves through the digestive system unaltered. Loads of low carb vegetables that have insoluble fibre in them, and these are the ones we want to eat! Fibre is included in the total carb content of a food, however if eating a Keto diet, it does not count towards your carb intake because it doesn't raise blood glucose levels. 

For example:

100g of Broccoli has 6.64g total carbs, 2.6g of fibre and therefore 4.04g net carbs.

Why Do We Want To Eat Less Carbs?

Historically our diets were lower in carbs than they are now. Before the agricultural revolution we primarily got our carbs from tubers such as potato, and other seasonal fruit and vegetables. Nowadays however, we get carbs in a great variety of forms from lollies and sweets, cakes, pasta, rice, cereals, juice, bread, jellies and almost every processed food. When the body breaks down carbs, then are converted into glucose. The increase in processed carb consumption has had a negative impact on many peoples heath and waistlines. When someone eats carbs they release a hormone called insulin, a fat storage hormone, that helps the body to processes the carbs. This wonderful system the body has to process carbs does have limits and unfortunately overloading it causes the body to not work as it should.

If there is too much insulin in your blood, the main cause is generally “insulin resistance.” If experiencing insulin resistance, the body won’t allow insulin to do it’s job – which is to lead sugar into cells in order to give them energy. Insulin resistance can leads to many health conditions including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, weight gain and high cholesterol.

Therefore avoiding processed carbs is the best way to reduce your risk of getting these health issues. Seasonal vegetables are by far the best way to get your carbohydrates and fibre. Vegetables also have the added bonus of containing vitamins, minerals and antioxidants!

 

Now that you have a bit of background about what carbs are and vegetables are a great source. What vegetables are suitable to eat on a Keto diet? 

Eating a Keto diet is all about keeping your carbs low so that your body can produce ketone as a fuel source. This can not be done if you are eating too many carbs because your body will always use the carbs for energy. The amount of carbs you can eat and get into ketosis is different for everyone however at Keto Reset we recommend 50g total carbs a day, which is approximately 20-30g net carbs, when the vegetable fibre is removed. 

Sometimes it's easier to start with the vegetables that you need to avoid. 

Vegetables to Avoid When Eating Keto:

  • Pumpkin
  • Squash
  • Potato
  • Sweet Potato or Kumara
  • Yams
  • Corn
  • Peas

Whilst these vegetables are certainly healthy options to eat, a serving of these would max out your carbohydrate intake for the day. Meaning you could only eat protein and fat for the rest of the day, which isn't ideal. So these vegetables are best to be saved for when you cycle out of ketosis.

Vegetables to Eat When Eating Keto:

Here are some examples of Keto meals that contain loads of fresh low carb vegetables:

As you can see from these Keto meals, there is no reason to skip your vegetables whilst eating Keto! If getting into ketosis is your goal, you just need to make sure your vegetables fit into your daily carb allowance. You can use an online tools to work out how many carbs you are eating, such as myfitnesspal or follow a set Keto meal plan like Keto Reset, which calculates your meals for you.

If you have any questions, please email hello@ketoreset.co.nz